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U.S. 'working in close coordination' with Ukraine to investigate into Il-76 crash - Department of State

U.S. 'working in close coordination' with Ukraine to investigate into Il-76 crash - Department of State Photo: Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson (Getty Images)

The United States of America is collaborating with Ukraine in the investigation of the crash of the Russian Il-76 aircraft in the Belgorod region on January 24. However, the problem is that the plane crashed in Russian territory, and Russia does not allow independent media to access the incident site, says the spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Vedant Patel, during a briefing.

He reminded that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for an international investigation into the crash of the Russian plane and the possibility of Ukrainian military personnel being on board.

"The problem here is that this crash occurred in Russia, and that makes it difficult to independently verify some of these things. So we’re going to continue to work in close coordination with our Ukrainian partners as they work to ascertain the facts," Patel said.

The Department of State spokesperson noted that the U.S. is in contact with Ukraine to determine the true cause of the Il-76 crash.

Il-76 Russian plane crash

On January 24, a Russian military transport plane Il-76 crashed in the Korocha district of the Belgorod region. RBC-Ukraine sources report that the aircraft was transporting missiles for the S-300 air defense system.

At the same time, Russia claims that there were 65 POWs, 6 crew members, and 3 escorts on the plane. Moscow accuses Ukraine of shooting down the aircraft.

The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that an exchange was supposed to take place on that day. However, they do not confirm the statement that Ukrainian military prisoners were on board.

Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, also noted that intelligence does not rule out the possibility that the Il-76 could have carried both missiles and people, including VIP individuals from Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the Russians are playing with the lives of Ukrainian prisoners. He called for an international investigation.

According to Ukrainian ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets, there is no evidence indicating that dozens of people were on board the Il-76, as claimed by Russia.

It was also reported that the Security Service of Ukraine opened a case regarding the Il-76 crash in the Belgorod region. The investigation is being carried out under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violations of the laws and customs of war).